Thoughts of a Christian wean

Faith, hope and wishful thinking

Christianity

When all the Israelites saw the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord coming into the camp, their shout of joy was so loud it made the ground shake!
1 Samuel 4:5 NLT

Eli was waiting beside the road to hear the news of the battle, for his heart trembled for the safety of the Ark of God. When the messenger arrived and told what had happened, an outcry resounded throughout the town.
1 Samuel 4:13 NLT 

These are two different examples of faith covering the same event. In the first, the Israelites gain new hope after a defeat at the hands of the Philistines. They are convinced that, now that the Ark is in their midst, they will have victory. In the second, Eli has no faith that it will bring victory, even to the extent that the Ark itself will be lost or damaged! Because of his knowledge of the prophecy given through Samuel, Eli knew that there were no grounds for hope.

Faith isn’t based on hope: hope is based on faith, and that faith has to be grounded on God’s will.

Whenever I am going to exercise faith, I need to ensure that it is not just hope or wishful thinking gone mad. My faith needs to be strong, but it also needs to be based on the word and will of God. It needs to be what he wants, not just what I want! 

Now I see it!

Christianity

And the man jumped up, grabbed his mat, and walked out through the stunned onlookers. They were all amazed and praised God, exclaiming, “We’ve never seen anything like this before!”
Mark 2:12 NLT

The people were all amazed because they had seen Jesus perform a miracle. They had never seen anything like it, but now they had.

It’s very easy to be amazed when you have seen something happen which you have never seen before. How many times, though, do I put the cart before the horse and say that I have never seen something happen before and then jump to the conclusion that I shall therefore never see it? It’s a faith destroyer! I should be thinking of the things I have never seen before and then go looking for them!

It’s not “Now you see it, now you don’t.” It’s “now I don’t see it, but I will!”

That is faith! 

Ever so humble

Christianity

“Stop acting so proud and haughty! Don’t speak with such arrogance! For the Lord is a God who knows what you have done; he will judge your actions.
1 Samuel 2:3 NLT

When the New Year honours list was announced, I found it odd that so many of the people who had been honoured day how humbled they were. How can that be? It seems such a contradiction in terms. How can anyone feel humbled to be honoured.

A lot of people have honoured me by saying how good I am at something or other. The problem is that I am included in the list of people who have honoured me! I like praise. I like to hear how “good” I am. I often think that I actually deserve the honour – I’m proud of my achievements. I know I’m not good at everything – there are things I cannot do – but I’m good at what I can do.

However, God knows a lot of areas where I’m not good, and his definition of good is not limited to proficiency. He knows what I have done. He will judge me, and when he does I will be humbled. I really have to get a grip of that, and stop looking to be honoured by people. I need to work at being honoured by God. That is the only praise that matters. 

Needs must

Christianity

As she was praying to the Lord , Eli watched her. Seeing her lips moving but hearing no sound, he thought she had been drinking. “Must you come here drunk?” he demanded. “Throw away your wine!” “Oh no, sir!” she replied. “I haven’t been drinking wine or anything stronger. But I am very discouraged, and I was pouring out my heart to the Lord . Don’t think I am a wicked woman! For I have been praying out of great anguish and sorrow.”
1 Samuel 1:12-16 NLT

It’s just too easy for me to look at someone and quickly form an opinion about them. Because of that it’s even easier to be wrong! Eli made two mistakes in this story: firstly, he assumed by what she was doing that she was drunk, then he failed to understand what she was going through. Because of that, he failed to see just how close she was moving towards God. Even if she had been drunk, Eli didn’t know that her struggle might even have been “good” reason to be drunk!

When I look at people I have to really see the truth, not just go on first impressions. I have to look beyond the outer skin, beyond the smile or black expression which might be hiding immense pain or struggle.  Even if I cannot see anything then or if I see the truth, I have to keep an open mind and try to understand what he or she is going through. I need to look for an opportunity to help. Everyone everywhere needs help – I need to spend more time identifying the need. 

Reasonably speaking

Christianity

Then Naomi said to her, “Just be patient, my daughter, until we hear what happens. The man won’t rest until he has settled things today.”
Ruth 3:18 NLT

In this passage, Boaz had to be careful that he was doing the right thing. He had to check with another man that it was ok to proceed, so that there was no trouble.

I do a lot of my shopping online and I am happy when whatever I order arrives the next day.  If the supplier cannot deliver next day, I’ll look for an alternative. If the goods are delayed, I get upset. That is just a lack of patience and, in most cases, it’s pointless, since there is normally no real rush and another day will make no difference. I refuse to pay extra to get it faster, so I’m not that bothered when it comes to it.

Some things in life take time and there is always a reason. That reason might be a good one or a bad one. It might be obvious, or it might be hidden. Working out the reason, or giving it a reason is not important and is not my job. What I have to be is patient, and ready for the next phase, whatever it might be. 

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